Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hysterical Men! The History of Mental Illness in Men and Why People Think Only Women Are Crazy

Today I want to redirect you guys to an awesome article I found on the Smithsonian website called History of the Hysterical Man. The article is about the book Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness by Mark Micale out of Harvard University Press.

As some of you may already know, I've written a novel called A White Room which plays off of the history of hysteria, a popular disease women were diagnosed with during the Gilded Age.

photo credit: clotho98 via photopin cc
I personally believe that the impact of hysteria and the Victorian beliefs that women were naturally weaker than men both physically and mentally still impact our society today. How many times have you heard someone say "women are crazy." People say it idly or for humor, but a lot of people say it very seriously and accept it as being based on a level of truth. Here is an article in "Midlife Bachelor" that promotes this idea among men.

However, this isn't just an accepted generlization among men. WOMEN accept this too!

How many times have you heard a woman say, "I don't have female friends. Women are crazy." Or when a woman gets upset, she might say, "Just ignore me. I'm losing it." If you are a woman, how many times have you honestly wondered if you were going nuts?

Women accept that showing emotion is not rational or reasonable, especially when in public or at work. Women are ashamed of their tears, and women often criticize themselves for not handling things better and often feel like they are really, honestly on the road to eventual insanity.

Victorians didn't just diagnose one fourth of the female population with hysteria. Victorians believed that women were naturally more susceptible to mental illness and not capable of handling the stress of the modern world, which is why they were supposed to stay in the home and why it was so easy to diagnose so many with mental illness.

photo credit: “Caveman Chuck” Coker via photopin cc
Many Victorian and turn of the century values still linger in our society today, letf over from belief structures that are hidden deep within the core of certain values that are passed down from generatioin to generation. At the time women were expected to be the epedimy of morality, virgins, domestic angels, and submissive to their husbands.What woman hasn't been judged just a little harsher for making an immoral decesion? What woman hasn't been criticized for losing her virginity? What woman hasn't felt guilty for leaving her children to work outside the home? What woman hasn't been called crazy while fighting with a man?

Even modern science still thinks women are more susceptible to mental illness. Studies have shown that women are more prone to anxiety and depression, but what those studies haven't shown is that for over a hundred years, it's been acceptable for women to seek help for these problems but not so much for men.

This is also the main argument in the book I don't Want to Talk About It: The Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrance Real.

Mark Micale's awesome book is specifically about the history of nervous disorders in men and how our history impacted their ability or lack thereof to deal with it openly. This of course has also helped women reign as the craziest sex.

Get the Support You Need.
Sign up for the U&E Quarterly Newsletter! 
Only Four Emails a Year.

About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

Join My Journey.
Subscribe Today! 
Only Four Emails a Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love, love your comments and questions! Just remember to not mention any security info about your Sailor! Thank you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts